In this report, MARK ITSIBOR uncovers how efforts of multi-purpose company with potentials of turning a community into an industrial hub are being ‘frustrated’ in Gunduma Community of Nasarawa state.
A people’s hospitality tells a compelling story on whether they are ready to attract business investments (both public and private) for development and growth. In the eyes of investment experts, communities that can provide good and/or conducive environment for businesses to operate without allowing individual or personal greed to block the flow of business citations for relevant reasons – economic performance, wellbeing of the population and employment generation for her workforce – will be the ones that attract investment. But is this the case in Gunduma Community of Nasarawa state?
When Alhaji Abdulhamid Mahmud Zari, managing director of G-Complex
Nigeria Limited teamed up with his local and foreign partners and came up with the concept of establishing a N15billion world-class vehicle assembly plant, with state-of-the-art facilities in Gunduma community of Nasarawa state in 2008, they were clear on how and when to make their dream a full reality. The plant was planned to commence operation in November 2018 with N3billion expended already. Unfortunately, that is no longer feasible.
The project is currently a subject of litigations which has caused avoidable setback that will most likely drive it into abyss except there is intervention by the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to stop the imminent crippling of the million-dollar investment over personal feud between Zari and a top staff of EFCC who has been severally blamed of allegedly plotting to cripple Zari’s businesses after an estranged friendship.
Our reporter gathered that the plan is to build the N15 billion assembly plant in partnership with some Turkish investors to assemble Ford Motors locally.
Besides the factory, there is a separate four storey bulletproof building still under construction that is expected to house banking halls, an automated bakery that would be manned by only six people with a capacity to produce 120,000 loafs in 12 hours. Each oven is seven minutes and a supermarket backing a staff quarters adjacent to another expanded slot for the commenced building of 160 bed hospital to serve both the immediate and neighbouring communities.
According to the company’s managing director, 23 professional doctors will be employed from within and outside Nigeria to work in the hospital situated in a distance away from a proposed filling station whose building work has also been suspended; following a controversial seal placed on the project by the EFCC.
Alhaji Zari told our correspondent that except for the interruption by the EFCC since last year, a proposed university that would be fully funded by his foreign partners on 43 hectares of land would have been at advance state by now; near the staff quarters.
The university which is already approved by the National Universities Commission is designed to admit 5000 students at the beginning.
For the investors who have deployed huge funds to the massive project, efforts of multi-purpose companies like G-Complex Nig. Ltd, with potentials of turning a local community like Gunduma into an industrial hub with the potential of creating over 3000 jobs for Nigeria’s workforce are currently being ‘frustrated’ on the altar of selfish interest that will not benefit the immediate community and the country at large both (in the short and long term).
When our correspondent visited the site of the project last week, much of the building materials that were being used for work, valued at about N700 million have been left to rust away following the EFCC order. The uncompleted buildings have started falling off in sides.
Observers said if urgent steps are not taken to restore peace and allow work to continue, the seaming emergence of Gunduma as one of Nigeria’s industrial centres may well be a mirage.
It was gathered that trouble started when Alhaji Zari refused to pay the sum of N20 million for a 10 hectares of land offer in the community to a man believed to be instigating EFCC to launch the investigation.
“Alhaji Zari and the said man were friends before the man came from nowhere and said Zari should pay him N10m for a parcel of land, which he refused. Since that early 2017 he vowed to deal with him. And since then, he has been using EFCC to witch-hunt him up and down,” a middle-aged man and resident of the community who simply identified himself as Yusuf told our correspondent.
“Abubakar Aliyu Madaki has practically destroyed all my businesses using the instrumentality of the EFCC. He monitors all transactions in all my company’s accounts, and once my business partners make any payment, the EFCC will immediately go after them. Consequent upon this, I lost almost all my business partners,” Zari said.
He showed evidences of letters of invitations sent to all his business partners by the EFCC, directing them to come and disclose every transaction they ever had with him financially and otherwise.
Copies of the letters sent to his client’s business partners by the EFCC allegedly at the instigation of the said Madaki, were attached in the petition and collectively marked as Annexure H.
He said he was shocked at the fact that no petition was written against him or any of his companies from anyone, the basis of which the operatives of EFCC at the direct instigation of Madaki, using his influence to frustrate his legitimate business activities.
“He has been using his office to harass, intimidate and extort monies from me. Madaki instigated the EFCC against me, as operatives from the Procurement Fraud Section, invaded my house on 27th March, 2017, claiming they were investigating me for conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.
“I learnt it was on the basis of a whistleblower that they raided my residence and carted away all my landed property documents, company incorporation documents and my International Passport, my monies which
they are still holding on till date,”.
“My companies and I have been investigated by virtually every department of EFCC” yet the anti-graft agency has failed to disclose the results of all the investigations against Zari and his companies.
“I have petitioned virtually every relevant public institution in Nigeria seeking for help and none has come my way,” he wept. His prayer? “Let the EFCC just releases all by documents and ask Madaki to please leave me alone!” he said.
In a suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/557/2017 for an application for enforcement of his fundamental rights, Justice Binta Nyako of Abuja High Court had faulted the illegal seal on the premises and directed the EFCC to remove the paintings on the walls. The EFCC have failed to comply with the said order.
But Madaki has on his part denied that he was behind the EFCC investigations against Zari and his companies. When contacted by our correspondent to respond to the allegations, Madaki referred him to a statement issued by the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren. He said: “…there is no truth to this allegation, which is contrived to malign and impugn the reputation of Madaki, an operative who has
handled several high profile investigations without blemish.
“What is currently playing out in select media outlets is the unraveling of a vengeful script by Zari and his cohorts to impugn the integrity of Madaki and bring him to public ridicule,” Wilson said adding that Zari is a suspect under investigation for alleged money laundering by the commission.
“Soon after he was released on bail, Zari launched a media offensive against Madaki, accusing him of buying half of the land in his home town, Keffi for N10 billion. He also claimed that the officer owns two palatial mansions in choice areas of Abuja worth N250million.
“In line with the commission’s stance on professional responsibility by officers and men, the phantom allegations were duly investigated by the commission and found to be baseless. That the ludicrous charge failed to hurt the career of Madaki has not deterred Zari. He engineered the arrest of the officer after he wrote a petition to the Police at Nasarawa Command, alleging that Madaki and his brother had conspired to kill him during the Ramadan of 2017. Madaki was detained for a day in Lafia.”
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